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Slow gait limits independence, decreases quality of life, and is associated with an increased risk of disability, hospitalization, placement in long-term care,1,2 and accelerated clinical progression of many chronic diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and dementia. Slow gait speed is also a predictor of all-cause mortality.3 Measuring gait speed is simple, quick, reproducible, inexpensive, and feasible in clinical settings. These characteristics have led to the recommendation that gait speed be considered a vital sign for the care of older patients.
Cummings SR, Studenski S, Ferrucci L. A Diagnosis of Dismobility—Giving Mobility Clinical VisibilityA Mobility Working Group Recommendation. JAMA. 2014;311(20):2061–2062. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3033
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